Interview with Gianna Thomas

And I’m back, dear readers! After busy weeks at university, and another passed paper yay! I have found time to do a small interview with lovely author Gianna Thomas, after reading her newest book, “Darcy vs Bingley”

Darcy vs Bingley

Thank you for joining me, Gianna, here on my blog, I’ll jump straight to my questions.

S: How did you get the idea for Darcy vs Bingley?

G: I woke up one day with the perfect set down for Caroline Bingley from Mr. Darcy and wrote it as a one-shot on FanFiction.net. Had not been thinking about writing that. It just came out of the blue. And it worked very well.

S: When were you first introduced to Pride and Prejudice? And Darcy, Bingley, Jane and Elizabeth

G: Years ago, I read Pride and Prejudice on my own. Don’t remember what I thought of it back then. However, in November 2012, I acquired Abigail Reynold’s “A Pemberley Medley” and fell in love with the P&P variations. I bought two more of her books and began acquiring more books over the next few months. Diana J. Oaks “One Thread Pulled” permanently set the hook, and I became an avid P&P what ifs fan. By the end of 2013, I had published “Attending a Ball” which was the first prequel for my “Darcy and Elizabeth Series” and added over 200 variations to my library.

S: Did you find the audience of Fanfiction readers helpful while writing the book?  Would you use Fanfiction again?

G: The FanFiction readers were a great help. I had only planned a one-shot as you’ll recall, but the readers loved it and wanted more. Did I want to do more? Did I have more to add to the one-shot? The answer was ‘yes,’ and I’m delighted they insisted because I loved doing “Darcy vs Bingley”. It would not have happened if they hadn’t clamored for it. I had also mentioned to the readers that I would consider suggestions because at first I wasn’t sure where I was going to take the plot. Several of the suggestions were excellent, and I did incorporate them into the book, and they made it better.

I had used FanFiction for “Darcy Chooses” posting when it was still being offered for pre-order as I’m doing for “Darcy vs Bingley”.  Since the new book will be in Kindle Unlimited, all but the first three chapters will be removed by April 24th as the book will be released April 26th.

I will use FanFiction again but not for my current WIP “Elizabeth’s Choice” the sequel to “Darcy Chooses”. The sequel to Darcy vs Bingley, which I hope will be released in the autumn, will be posted to FanFiction.

S: How did you come up with the funny moments where Caroline Bingley is made ridiculous?

G: I helped raise my three brothers, so I identify more with guys than gals. I’ve always had more men friends than girl friends because of my brothers and because the traits of some women, that I find in abundance in Caroline Bingley, are rather off putting. The catty comments and the tendency to gossip particularly malicious talk are major traits of Miss Bingley and are ones that repel me. So, I just increased her bad tendencies and wrote about the reactions I felt recipients of her sharp tongue and wrath would display. Especially if they didn’t take her seriously. 😊

S: Was any of the plot inspired by family or maybe even friends?

G: The scene when Richard first arrives was inspired by guy gatherings and the things they do or say.

S: Will there maybe be a sequel to Darcy vs Bingley?

G: Oh, yes! Darcy vs Bingley wouldn’t let me stop with just the one book. I mentioned a Caroline Bingley sequel to the FanFiction readers, and a number of them mentioned that they would like to see a sequel written. So, a sequel about what happens to Caroline after the Netherfield Ball and her subsequent marriage is being pondered for the autumn, and I already know some of the scenes that will appear.

S: Will you do a book tour? With a chance of giveaways?

G: I don’t do book tours. As far as giveaways, I gave two away with my monthly post on AustenAuthors.net where I introduced Darcy vs Bingley. I also gave away eighteen ARCs to reader/reviewers for an honest review. At the moment, I’m not planning on any more giveaways for Darcy vs Bingley but will have at least two giveaways for its sequel in the autumn.

S: Did your new book give you a new view of Darcy and Bingley? And maybe even Elizabeth and Jane as well?

G: Yes, my Darcy was not so uppity and was attracted to Elizabeth from the start. Bingley had a bit more spine than Jane Austen’s. Elizabeth was not so prejudiced as she also was attracted to Darcy when she first met him. When Darcy refuted Wickham’s charges, Elizabeth was quicker to admit she was wrong about both of them. Jane is basically the sweet person she’s always been. I’m not sure that I could see her in any other role other than with a quiet and mild spirit.

S: Which of the Bennet girls do you prefer to write about? And do you have a favorite character from the original book?

G: Definitely, it would have to be Elizabeth. She and I have a number of traits that are similar, so

I identify with her readily. Again, she would also be my favorite character from the original Pride and Prejudice. Darcy is not very likable until his letter to Elizabeth. And though Austen’s Darcy is not very swoon-worthy at first, I try to make my Darcy’s a bit more swoon-worthy. Sigh! And, yes, I still prefer Matthew Macfadyen. 😊

S: And lastly is there a new project being written?

G: Elizabeth’s Choice was originally scheduled to publish in April, but it will be May or first of June because Darcy vs Bingley demanded to be written first. All I could do was go with the muse because my head was filled only with Darcy vs Bingley. Elizabeth’s Choice has been started, and I have part, if not most of the plot already mapped out. So, hopefully, I can stay on schedule.

And that’s it for now dear readers! Summer is coming, and I wish everybody a very nice summer filled with friends, travels and sun!

My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley Book Tour

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Hello dear readers,

Here I am once again, this time hosting lovely Linda Beutler on her book tour with her new book, “My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley” and I am very excited to be involved in this tour! I will jump straight into the fray and give you all a book blurb about her new book! Happy Reading!

Book Blurb: One never quite knows where the inspiration will strike. For award-winning author Linda Beutler and My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley, the moment of genesis arrived in a particularly contentious thread at the online forum A Happy Assembly. What is the nature of personal responsibility? Where do we draw the line between Mr. Bingley being too subject to Mr. Darcy’s “persuasion” and Mr. Darcy playing too heavily on Mr. Bingley’s “sensibility”? This is a conundrum guaranteed to raise even more questions. What happens to the plot and character dynamics of Pride & Prejudice if Mr. Bingley is given just a dash more spine? Or if Jane Bennet decides enough embarrassment is too much? How does Mr. Darcy manage the crucial apology a more stalwart Mr. Bingley necessitates he make? What if Mr. Darcy meets relations of Elizabeth Bennet’s for whom she need not blush on their home turf rather than his? Suffice it to say, this is a story of rebuked pride, missing mail, a man with “vision”, a frisky cat, and an evening gown that seems to have its own agenda.

I would personally say this sounds very intriguing! I do think it sounds like a very interesting and very catch on read, especially considering a Bingley with a spine, a Jane Bennet who might have a change of heart or a broken heart, a very contrite Darcy and an Elizabeth who doesn’t know if she can trust Darcy when she can’t even trust her most beloved sister. I can reveal that I am in progress of reading “My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley” and it’s well worth a read! I am continuously surprised about Jane Bennet, and how she is developing, and how Jane decides that enough is enough, and ultimately how she acts around Mr. Bingley considering her broken heart. Mr. Bingley is developing a very nice spine, while he is trying to stand on his own two feet.   

LBinBLuex7-2.jpg Linda

Welcome to my blog, Linda and thank you for visiting! Linda has her passion in writing and her horticultural interests, which includes green fingers, and she is a national speaker- she is also president of the International Clematis Society and she is a West-coaster in America, from Oregon. I will let Linda take over from here, so here she is; Linda Beutler!

Dear Sophia,

Thank you for hosting a blog tour day for My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley, and for being so accommodating when I asked to interview Jane Bennet. As I said when I suggested it, writers must feel Jane is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” sort of character. For such a gentle and serene soul—clearly meant by Jane Austen for be a foil for the more lively and “prejudiced” Elizabeth—it is surprising how little leeway readers allow in modifying her character. Clearly, even a chapter or two of “vain Jane” can never be redeemed! But oh, the complaints if she is a mush-mouthed milk-toast! There’s no winning! In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth attributes everything good to her sister: perfect unassuming manners, alert mind, looks for the best in everyone, and is well informed. Yet somehow Jane is read as being passive, quiet, even what one might call shy and not very smart. But there is no evidence for any of that negativity in P&P!

Before we get on to the interview, here is a little excerpt from the story, taken from the moment when Mr. Bennet has finally gotten through to Jane, following a little show-and-tell with the barn cats. (One of which, Circe, was interviewed at Half Agony…Half Hope on day three of the blog tour.) Whatever cloud Jane was drifting along in was effectively dispersed.

To her credit, Jane Bennet was not squeamish. She had not spent much time with cats since playing with kittens as a child, and she was morbidly fascinated until the weight of the metaphor bore down upon her. Shaking and in tears, she turned to her father. “Th-this…is what you think of m-me?”

“It is, though I think rather better of Mr. Bingley than to call him a rat. It was the sort of creature that suited the purpose.”

“Oh dear…” Jane murmured.

Mr. Bennet had a handkerchief at the ready. He took Jane’s other hand and slowly led her back to the house. Before entering, he pressed his point. “My love, what I think of you is only partly the issue. What I fear, and what you should fear, is that this is what Mr. Bingley is beginning to think of you.”

Jane’s eyes widened. “I see.”

“What I mean to do is write a note to Mr. Bingley asking him to meet me in my library tomorrow morning. When he arrives, you will be in the room, not I. That is, if you do mean to accept him.”

 She nodded. “I do.”

“Jane, you must let a gentleman be a man. And if you think you can manage it, try to make it appear as though it is his idea. Do I make myself clear?”

 Jane met her father’s eye. “Yes, sir!” With that, Jane darted into the house to have a good cry and pick out her prettiest day gown. It was as if she felt herself walking out from under a spell. My manners! Oh, to think what I have put Mr. Bingley through! Wretched, evil Jane! Well no, he had it coming, but I must know when enough is enough. Throughout the remainder of the day and into the evening, her opinion of her father was radically and forever altered for the better.

For this interview, I asked Jane to meet me for tea at Lady Di’s British Shop & Tea Room in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Your readers will want to know what she wore, I expect.

“Yes, I do believe the females of my readers would love to know what Jane Bennet wears, which colors and which style, Linda.” 

Her gown was pale blue muslin with springs of green leaves in tambour stitch scatted over the whole. Her spencer was deep blue, enhancing her eyes, and her bonnet had a straw brim with smocked fabric rising over her hair and gathered at the back of her neck with a green grosgrain ribbon. The bonnet was the same blue as the spencer. There was a simple ornament of lace and leaves over her left ear where the straw met the fabric. She caused quite a stir with the ladies who work at Lady Di’s, but when we explained our need for a private conversation, they graciously withdrew.

LB: Miss Bennet, thank you for visiting the future to speak to me today.

Jane: You are most welcome! Your family is well, and the cat and dog?

LB: We are all very well, thank you. I understand from the point in the story I have just excerpted, your sister Elizabeth is from home.

Jane (looking pensive): Indeed, she is. I fear she did not think well of me when she departed to stay with our cousin and Charlotte. Upon reflection, she ought not to have thought well of me. (Jane sighs heavily.)

LB: Would you care to explain?

Jane (after a sip of tea): If I could explain my actions to myself, I might have an easier go of explaining them to you, or Lizzy, or poor Mr. Bingley! (Her chin shivers; she blinks back tears.)

LB: Yes, he seemed to be growing disheartened, you must admit.

Jane (vehemently): Of course I do! I truly did wish to dance with him at the St. Valentine’s Day assembly, but with the heat and all of the eyes upon us, it is as if I entered a trance. The next morning, I could hardly believe what I had done! When he called, all I could think of was stating my feelings, since I had been accused of not showing enough before!

LB: No one would think less of you for scolding him a little. It seemed to take him an inordinate amount of time to know his own mind.

Jane (looks rueful): You are kind to say so, but it does not forgive my subsequent actions. But Lizzy—and Mama!—would not relent. It was Mr. Bingley this, and Mr. Bingley that, morning, noon, and night. (Her eyes take on a look of wonder.) Why, I suppose I might say I became rebellious!

LB: You? Jane Bennet? Rebellious?

Jane: That is how it felt at the time. Everyone was pushing! Even Papa, in his way… I have always sought to be obedient, truly I have.

LB: I believe you.

Jane (gives me a small smile): Are you teasing me?

We both laugh.

LB: Please, go on.

Jane: Once I started along the path of defiance, it was too hard to stop. I wished to be sure of Mr. Bingley, and felt my influence over him ought to be the strongest, if we were to marry, but I went about it very ill. And now Papa has had to remind me of my place, but I am glad he did.

LB: Mr. Bennet was quite worried. Tell me, would you call your father indolent? Neglectful?

Jane (sips her tea and ponders a moment before replying): I can see how others might. Lizzy and I do think he is not as attentive to Kitty and Lydia as he ought to be. And he does love to tease. I suppose that’s where Lizzy gets it. But without fail, and as you just read, he always comes forward when he is truly needed. He can be very wise and protective. He would not have arranged that little performance unless he loved me very much, and I know I have tried his patience. (She shakes her head, and I can see her puddling up again.)

LB (quickly changing the subject): How do you think Lizzy is getting on with Mr. and Mrs. Collins?

Jane (smiling fondly): She will make the best of everything, although I am curious about Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Can she possibly be as good and noble and…majestic as our cousin says? I fear he is given to exaggeration. (There is a Bennet-family twinkle in her eye.)

LB: Gee, ya think?

Jane (looking at me oddly): Pardon me?

LB (having forgotten that modern idiomatic irony might be beyond her): No, pardon me. English has suffered as a language in the last 200 years. But at least we have bookends. (Clears throat.) So tell me one last thing: what will you say to Mr. Bingley in the morning, when you meet him in your father’s library?

Jane (blushing): My father said to allow a gentleman to be a man. I’m not certain I comprehend his meaning entirely, but as best I can, I shall let Mr. Bingley do the talking. I only hope I have not ruined everything. (She becomes sly.) But I suppose you know how it will go? You couldn’t…?

LB (feigning shock): Miss Bennet! Are you asking for a hint?

Jane (quietly): Yes, I am.

LB (whispering): That would be telling!

Jane laughs weakly. We are quiet as we finish our tea, but I find myself grinning like the Cheshire Cat!

Thanks a million, Sophia, for welcoming the blog tour, and allowing me to get inside Jane Bennet’s head a bit for your readers! —Linda B

Linda, it was my pleasure to host you here! You are welcome to come back anytime!

And that dear readers, was my visit with Linda, for this time, at least. Now to the giveaway…

The eBook is available on Amazon. The Paperback should follow in two to three weeks.

Terms and Conditions for entering giveaway:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post that has a giveaway attached for the tour. (1 comment/blog post) Entrants should provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). You may enter once by following the author on twitter and once by following the author on Facebook.

Remember, tweet daily and comment once per post with a giveaway to earn extra entries.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter.

**NOTE: E-book copies are available for 8 winners and the giveaway is international! 8 eBooks will be given away to 8 different winners.**

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b3/?

For contacting Linda, do try these;

Twitter: @oregonclematis

Facebook: Linda Beutler Author

Wandering Pemberley’s Gardens

That was it, dear readers for this time, I’ll be back soon, Cheers!

 

My Scotland Adventure

Another lovely weekend with friends and Austen related adventures have ended. Not only was it filled with friends, a certain birthday but also a grand regency ball. New friends, old acquaintances and of course the rumors I had heard about Stuart Marsden calling the dances at the ball, was true!

My companions this time around was; my regency sister Christin and good friends Eva and Elaine. Eva, Elaine and I had planned weeks ahead of the weekend, to ensure that Christin knew nothing of our plans for her birthday, including the many gifts we had bought for her.

Well we arrived in Edinburgh, and managed to hide the gifts at our accommodation – before we joined Christin at Grey friars Bobby: a statue of a famous dog but also a tavern named after the dog’s owner. IMG_1339

The comical thing was that we had intended to join a Harry Potter walking tour, but we didn’t manage to find the starting point, which annoyed us, all to a certain extent.

After we had dealt with our disappointed hopes, we walked around on Victoria Street, one of the main streets where we saw the cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote “Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone”,

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Well Eva, Christin, Elaine and I visited several tartan shops to find appropriate sashes for our gowns for the ball the next evening. While we looked for the sashes, Elaine pointed out a sign which read;

IMG_1352 Yes, that Robert Burns, the poet!

While we were at it, we ran into an old friend, namely dance Master Andrew Rawe and his lovely girlfriend Sophie, who was also exploring Edinburgh. We ended up at Brassiere Valérie where we took tea and crumpets. Then we parted ways from Sophie and Andrew, we walked up to the Castle, Edinburgh Castle that is. We took pictures from the outside.

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Entryway to the Ministry of Magic

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Saturday dawned.

We visited the graveyard to find Tom Riddles and McGonagall’s graves – and we did find them – and posed for HP related photos, and I fell over Sir Walter Scott Sr.’s grave, which quite surprised me, since I didn’t know that family was Scottish.

I bought a gift for a friend at home, in form of a Slytherin scarf, when we passed the Harry Potter shop.

We also once again walked up to the Castle, and this time entered on the tour. The girls and I had started this joke between us that all we did was walk on stairs/steps which also held true for the castle, funnily enough. Since there was many a step when walking around the castle.

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But my goodness that castle has a very dramatic and bloody history! From the earliest days of the 1100s and all the way up to WWII, it has been bumped, burned, captured, taken or housed royals; including the famous Mary, Queen of Scots.

Actually in 1503 King Henry VIII’s sister Margaret was married into the Scottish royal family, to unite the two countries – it ultimately failed.

It was another 100 years before Scotland and England was united by inheritance and rules of succession, namely after the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England, when her cousin: King Jacob VI of Scotland became King James I of England – and united the two countries.

Pardon me for this little history lesson, dear readers.

After the tour of the castle, we hurried to our dance practice at the Assembly Rooms, which was housed in an old Georgian building. 2015-09-28 19.13.22

I reacquainted myself with several people from Bath, met new people and was taught new dances, including a few quadrilles by the excellent if firm dance master, Stuart Marsden. Quadrilles are tricky, so personally I think I prefer the country dances, but they are good fun – once you understand the patterns.

Then we returned to our accommodation, to shower, dress and prepare for the evening ahead.

We managed to get there on time, where to we talked and met everybody who was to attend the grand regency ball, which had last taken place in the self-same rooms 200 years before in 1817 on March 11th.

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Photo credit: Juliette Lichman

The ball room was quite amazing, a long gallery of a room, with several beautiful chandeliers, and since I am a singer, I thought the acoustics were quite beautiful.

As seen we had quite a lot of fun, as several gentlemen were in kilts or uniforms. But to say the truth, we had a ball, and a lot of fun! Laughter was ripe and so was silliness.

During the evening, I had the pleasure to dance with James Arnott, a new acquaintance – but also a regency dancer from the Hampshire dancers, if I am not mistaken. Also during the evening, I also made new friends, one I hope to see in Copenhagen in the coming summer.

After several dances, dinner and dessert, we as guests were showed the excellent show off of a Scottish Reel, which was rather amazing! The dancers were excellent, and personally I thought it took a lot of energy to pull it off.

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Photo credit: Juliette Lichman

The evening ended on a familiar note of ‘The Savage’ dance which lovers of Pride and Prejudice will recognize as the dance where Mr. Darcy comments, “Every savage can dance” (Jane Austen) it was wonderful to dance it again, it is full of energy, life and happiness. And lastly our dancing master told us that we had permission to dance The Waltz. A dance I love, and always think of as a very romantic dance.

When the ball ended, several of us walked to ‘The Dome’ a bar and restaurant in Edinburgh, where we had drinks and could toast the birthday girl, my dear regency sister on her 26th birthday.

Sunday dawned after a few hours of sleep; we packed our things since we all were leaving during the day. Eva was the first, who was leaving, so we went out for breakfast at a café.

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Strawberries on toast for myself, and a full traditional Scottish breakfast plate for my dear regency sister, which included a bit of haggis, rather brave of her. Afterwards, Elaine, Christin and I made our way to the Georgian House – a National Trust Property.

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In my eyes it does have a small reassemble to Lyme Park which portrayed Pemberley in the ’95 version of Pride and Prejudice. Well, Christin left us to go to the airport and therefore Elaine and I continued on our last day of adventure.

Once inside the house and past the desk in the hall, it felt like we had returned to late 18th century or early 19th century, despite our modern clothes I could easily imagine myself there during the early 19th century during a morning call to the Mistress of the House. Elaine and I tried to write with a very faulty pen and ink, and we had black ink on our fingers for hours afterwards, haha.

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We visited the whole house, including the butler’s room in the basement, alongside of the kitchen which was spotless; I did wonder if they had a Cook like Mrs. Patmore? Well Elaine and I spent quite some time in the shop attached to the house, as we walked back towards the castle district we walked on a street, which reminded me rather a lot of Great Pulteney St. in Bath – it felt like being back in south England once more. Can’t wait to be back!

On Victoria Street I ended up buying a scarf for myself in the Gryffindor colors, much to Elaine’s amusement. Then we made our way to The National Portrait Gallery, where we were meeting James Arnott for tea, before I had to be in the airport. After a lovely tea, and a very quick peek at a few portraits I was off back to Roseberry Crescent for my suitcase and then I was off to Edinburgh Airport, which sadly ended my visit to Edinburgh for this time.

I look forward to returning, hopefully next year. I hope to see more acquaintances there as well.

200 years of Jane Austen

2017 is another amazing year, not only because it has been 200 years since the world lost a wonderful authoress, but also because of this year’s busy schedule of regency events around the globe. 

This spring will be very busy for me as well; starting university college, manage my travels to participate in Jane Austen events around Europe, and also find time for family, friends and maybe even find romance. 

The early spring will see myself in company with friends and my regency sister, in Edinburgh in Scotland. Another city I’m eager to investigate, especially in the best company. Not only to have fun at a regency ball which also will see Stuart Marsden attending from the rumours I have heard, but also to celebrate a certain sister’s birthday while in Edinburgh 🎉🎁🍾🍸

Edinburgh can boast of being the home to several movie locations as I was informed of; Harry Potter, Outlander and others – but the city also holds an amazing rich history; from war ridden Celtic area to the Scottish home of the Queen and Prince/duke Phillip of Edinburgh. I do wonder if I am the only one who was surprised at knowing that Prince Phillip had Danish roots? But then again all the Royals can more or less be traced back to one Danish King, the man known as ‘All of Europe’s father-in-law’ King Christian IX of Denmark 🇩🇰 Hahah yeah guilty as charged I’m a history nerd 🤓 

The 200th anniversary of Austen’s death is this year and I already know of more than twenty different balls, not only in Europe but also in America and Australia. There is the Alton week in early June, a summer picnic (though Victorian more than regency) in Brighton in July, Malta in the coming month (February), then the American Austen festival in Kentucky if my memory doesn’t fail me, the famous Jane Austen festival in Bath (UK), the Austen festival in Canberra in April, a ball in Berlin in May (the same one I attended last November if my dear readers remember 😊) and again in November and several smaller events in Holland, Belgium 🇧🇪, France 🇫🇷, Germany 🇩🇪, Canada 🇨🇦, Switzerland 🇨🇭, Belarus 🇧🇾 and many other places, – for more accurate dates check: Regency Dances

So it has been 200 years since Jane died, but readers have enjoyed her beloved characters for more than 205 years; Darcy, Bingley, Elizabeth, Jane, Edward, Elinor, Marianne, Colonel Brandon, Captain Wentworth, Anne, Edmund, Fanny, Catherine, Henry, Emma and Mr. Knightly. 

(I know some of the pictures are not Austen characters but it was the best I could do 😁) 

Many generations have read her famous words. “It’s a truth universally acknowledged truth that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” And many other beautifully crafted lines which are memorable, including; the heartfelt letter from Captain Wentworth to Anne. “A word, a look will be enough…” 

And so many people around the globe 🌎 celebrates her works annually in every corner of the world – and hopefully will continue to love her works for many generations to come. 

Guest blog with Karin Quint, The Jane Austen Travel Guide

Hello Hello dear readers!

Today I am hosting Karin Quint, the author of “The Jane Austen Travel Guide” and she will tell how she fell in love with Austen and got the idea to write a travel guide to all the places where Jane lived, visited and we associate with her books and the many movie locations. Karin will also need your help dear readers, since her travel guide need to be translated to English from Dutch. I, for one think it is an awfully good idea!

I will go straight to my questions, Karin, so…

How did you fall in love with Jane Austen and her world?

When I was about 20 years old I bought a couple of secondhand books on a flea market for just a few quid. I was a student at the time and had just moved to a different student accommodation that had an enormous bookcase that needed to be filled. One of the books I bought was an Old Dutch translation from Pride and Prejudice. I started reading and couldn’t put it down. After I finished it, I immediately watched the BBC series, and then I was hooked.

Is the Jane Austen movement very active in Holland?

Yes it is! In 2009 I started the website and community JaneAusten.nl and around the same time the Dutch Jane Austen Society was founded. They organise offline events like workshops and talks, while I bring Jane Austen news and organise online events. The two initiatives have brought together lots of Dutch Jane Austen fans who up until then didn’t know of each others existence.

What made you write a travel guide to Jane Austen’s England?

I always like to visit places related to Jane Austen whenever I’m in England. I know many others do as well. But when you’ve visited the usual places like Bath and Chawton, where do you go next? As webmaster of JaneAusten.nl I frequently got asked for advice about making a Jane Austen tour. And I was a very surprised to find out there wasn’t a comprehensive Jane Austen travel guide. So I decided to write one myself. I pitched the idea at Gottmer Publishing Group, one of the leading travel guide publishers in The Netherlands, and they offered me a contract right away. The book was published in 2014, and the second edition came out last July.

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What is your favorite Austen related place to visit?

That’s a difficult question! Chawton is of course at the top of my list. It’s such a special place and you automatically feel very close to Jane Austen when you’re there. But I also like small villages like Adlestrop and Hamstell Ridware, where Jane visited family. Those places haven’t changed very much since her time, and you can really imagine her walking through the streets and going to church there.

How is the kick starter for the English version of the Travel Guide going?

It’s going very well! We have until December 7 to reach our funding goal of €14,000, and we are almost halfway there now. With this money we can have the book translated into English (it’s only available in Dutch now), print a limited edition and ship the books around the world to our backers.

Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. This means that if we do not reach our funding goal, we do not get the money (and no payment will be taken from the credit cards of our backers) and the book will not be published in English. I think that would be a real pity. So I am very grateful to the people who have backed so far, and I hope we can find a lot more backers!

How can people best help?

There are different ways to help:

* Back the project on Kickstarter (link: http://kck.st/2fuhfJJ) by ordering a copy of the book in advance. Or make a small donation (you can do that starting from €1). I’m grateful for every pledge, however great or small!

* Spread the word, by sharing the Kickstarter project on social media, email it to friends who might be interested and talk about it. We must try to reach as many Jane Austen lovers as we can before December 7th.

Is there a big audience for your Travel Guide?

I hope so. The book is still doing very well in The Netherlands and Belgium, and I know there are lots more Janeites in the rest of the world who would love to travel to the England and visit locations connected to Jane Austen’s life, work and film adaptations. Our biggest challenge is to reach them in a short period of time.

Which movie version of Pride and Prejudice do you prefer?

The BBC series from 1995 was the first adaptation I saw, and it will be no surprise to you that I have preferred that one ever since. I always watch the 2005 film when I need a quick Austen fix, but whenever I have more time, I like to watch the series.

Which Mr. Darcy is your favorite?

Colin Firth, without a doubt. Though I must say I very much enjoyed Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It would be great to see him in a ‘normal’ adaptation!

Which variation is your favorite?

My absolute favorite is the trilogy ‘Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman’ by Pamela Aidan. She tells the story of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s perspective and does that extremely well! Because it’s a trilogy she really takes the time to show the reader what life would be like for a gentleman of Mr Darcy’s stature. It’s interesting, funny and very romantic!pamela-aiden-books

Do you have a favorite variation author who you would recommend to other Austen lovers/readers?

She’s not a variation author, but an author I would absolutely recommend to any Austen fan is Georgette Heyer. She wrote about fifty novels and many of them are situated in the regency period. She had an amazing sense of humor and reading her novels always makes me happy.

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Thank you, Karin for answering my questions and good luck with your kick starter for your Travel Guide! I look forward to seeing it printed in English!

In Berlin with Jane Austen


The weekend in Berlin went too quickly, with plenty of laughter, sunshine and silliness. 

Friday was a busy day with arrival of my friends and I to Berlin, dance practice, concert in the concerthaus and to end the evening, out on the town at a speak-easy look alike bar, where my friends and I were dressed up in 1920’s clothes and stayed out until the early morning hours 😂

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Saturday and Sunday was equally busy days, with several important sights in Berlin, including; TV tower, Alexander platz, Altes Museum, Holocaust Memorial, the Red City hall, the parliament building which was heavily damaged during WWII, Berliner Dom, Brandenburger Tor, the memorial of the book burning of ’33, the Wall Museum and Check Point Charlie where I had my official passport stamped with; two Check Point Charlie stamps, British, French, German and DDR stamps which was very neat.

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Amazing to think that it has only been 26 years ago that the wall was torn down! It was a revelation to see it. Plenty of pictures were taken, sights visited and listed for more exploration in future. img_0954img_0955-9

The ball at Schloss Fredrichsfelde was well attended, including Her Majesty Queen Louise of Prussia and the dowager Queen.

After you have entered Schloss Fredrichsfelde and left your cloak in the cloak room, gone up the ancient but elegant staircase, you hand your card to the Master of Ceremonies, he goes in, – you wait nervous and anxiously for him to announce you – you finally walk into this amazing room, the ceiling like a summer blue sky, people dressed in proper 1816 clothes and jewels all around – and there in the middle of the room sits the royals; Queen Louise of Prussia and the dowager Queen, you walk up and drop into an elegant court curtsy and nearly drops your tiara, and you feel the heat of your blush from the cleavage of your dress to the very roots of your hair! Amazing, horrible and interesting to say the least. You back away and end up next to your friends while you try to regain your composure.

The court introduction felt like it must have felt like 200 years ago when you are a new debutant! Nervous, excited, hoping you will not be a wall flower, scared of embarrassing yourself – which I accidentally did! 

But the dances were familiar and well trained thanks to Martin from the Jane Austen Center in Bath, and other dance teachers. The dances included, The Duke of Kent, a dance my friends and I are very familiar with from our visits to Bath during the annual Jane Austen Festival. The men and women who attended was in most cases beautifully dressed, the food was good and the company the best with my dear friends! So I felt like Lydia Bennet and danced nearly every dance during the evening! 

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The ball looked like a movie set, and we the guests actors, dressed to the nines in regency clothes, jewels and titles. It was well organized and the music matched the beautiful surroundings! Schloss Fredrichsfelde is the only castle I know in the world which is located within a zoologist park.

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The ball was like taken straight out of a Jane Austen book, Schloss Fredrichsfelde was even more beautiful than any Austen location I have ever visited! With the painted ceiling, the fantastic acoustics and the amazing portraits, it felt like I had stepped through the looking glass and straight into the world Austen described in minute details in her books.

So I am definitely coming back to Schloss Fredrichsfelde sooner rather than later. So will I see any other Austen lovers there in May, maybe for the next Queen Louise Ball?

As the last official energizing dance was danced, before a good friend started to play waltz music, and many couples took to the floor and twirled around to the waltz. There were many talented dancers, even I was given a chance to learn a few more tricks to be able to dance a waltz.

Piano music 🎶 followed, though very talented my friend did not conquer the technical details and the many years another guest managed to display on the piano. The few remaining guests who listened were spellbound!

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Soon after that, I was called upon to perform to the best of my singing abilities, and without music, music sheets and with a small audience I sang to my hearts content! The song came from the musical “The Sound of Music”, it was ‘Edelweiss’ which I performed, and I have NEVER heard better acoustics than in that ball room!! Among the audience was my dear friends; Eva, Vera and her beau, Ciaran, and my regency sister Christin, another female guest and Her Majesty Queen Louise! I was afterwards on a high from the amazing feeling of success and a loud applause for my performance 🎶🎉🍸

The whole visit ended on a rather stressful if lucky ending! I was in the airport with 5 minutes to go until my flight was boarding!!

 I made it home after an amazingly funny weekend with my good friends. One of several reasons for why the weekend was so funny and successful was; our ability to sing loudly in the car, the telling of hilarious stories, how well we connected with each other and how we managed to arrive in the nick of time for several reasons and still be able to see the funny aspects of the situation. 

I personally hope we can repeat it in the coming year.

Austen in Germany

After this year’s festival in Bath, I have kept in contact with several people who live in Germany; including my regency sister Christin. Well I saw there would be a ball in Berlin, since several friends is to attend – and within days these wonderful friends had persuaded me to go with them… okay okay more or less begged me to go.

So therefore I am going to Berlin for the first official time, and on top I am to attend another regency event, which will make it 3 times this year! I am quite looking forward to visiting Berlin, especially in the company of friends, go dancing and have fun.

So are you coming to Berlin?

For myself I did know there were regency balls in Europe, but in Berlin? I had no idea! So now maybe a new dress is in order? It would work wonders with the jewellery I bought in Bath at Guildhall.

I am only happy that I am going with friends, and I am looking forward to seeing Berlin, maybe visiting a few museums and historical points; including what is left of the Berlin Wall. Mostly I am to see how the world have changed as my generation knows little about the Cold War, as our grandparents remembers WWII and our parents knows some about the wall and the time around it.

But all in all looking forward to meeting up with friends again, and of course meeting new interesting people.

See you in Berlin! 😉